Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rote memorization

Some yahoo in Georgia wants to remove the implicit comma between "one nation" and "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. As in, the phrase "one nation under God" should run together to demonstrate that the U.S. of A. is all united under a single god. Does anybody really think this is true? And more to the point, I ask you, do our elected officials have nothing better to do with their time? There's a war and a faltering economy and global warming and a housing crisis to deal with, and some dim bulb is fighting for the removal of an implicit comma? Not even a real comma!

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, and the phrase "under God" was added to it in 1954. I remember struggling to learn the Pledge when I was in kindergarten or first grade, and my dad's shock that those two words had been added to the original text. Dad identified himself as an agnostic, though I think he was really a closeted atheist, and I know it pissed him off that we kids were in essence swearing allegiance to a deity as well as a flag and a country in our public schools.

Sean isn't especially bothered by the phrase "under God," but he thinks it's idiotic to pledge allegiance to a flag, which is a mere symbol.

I learned today that, up until WWII, Americans used to say "I pledge allegiance" with their right hands over their heart, then extend their right arms towards the flag, with the palm up, on the words "to the flag," and hold their arms in that position until the Pledge was concluded. Looked a little too "heil Hitler" so the practice was dropped.

P.S. I love the troops.


~ Lucy said...

God knows I heart the troops too BUT you, Sean and your Dad are all completely right.

Curtis said...

I don't have a problem with removing the implicit comma as long as at the same time we make explicit that the god we mean is Cthulhu.